Works team pre­dicts up­turn in form de­spite Hamp­shire woe

Motor Sport News - - Headline News - By Matt James Pho­tos: Jakob Ebrey

Tech­ni­cal boffins of the fac­tory Subaru team in the Bri­tish Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship are ex­pect­ing a step for­ward in pace at Oul­ton Park in June, de­spite be­ing forced to with­draw from last Sun­day’s races at Thrux­ton.

The team made changes to the fuel sys­tem of the four es­tate-shaped Levorg mod­els go­ing in to the third meet­ing of the sea­son in Hamp­shire last week­end. It was prompted af­ter James Cole’s ex­am­ple erupted in flames at Don­ing­ton Park in April af­ter a fuel leak.

Colin Turk­ing­ton qual­i­fied his ex­am­ple 13th at Thrux­ton, with Ja­son Plato’s ma­chine in 21st, team owner and driver War­ren Scott in 28th and Cole in 29th.

How­ever, in­ves­ti­ga­tions af­ter the qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion re­vealed that the changes the team had made to the car were not suf­fi­cient to guar­an­tee the prob­lem would not hap­pen again. They were with­drawn.

BMR team man­ager Alan Cole said: “Every­one within the team had made the best ef­fort to fix the is­sue we thought we had but we were not con­fi­dent with the na­ture of the prob­lem that we have and the na­ture of the cir­cuit here at Thrux­ton.

“We looked at the cars in depth af­ter qual­i­fy­ing be­cause we had the is­sue, which con­cerns the fuel rail. When we looked, it was show­ing the same signs as it had at Don­ing­ton, so we took the de­ci­sion to pull out.”

Cole said that, de­spite the prob­lem, there were other op­tions to ex­plore to solve the is­sue. “What we had at Thrux­ton was only one so­lu­tion, but there are a cou­ple of other op­tions to as­sess so we will be look­ing at those,” he said. ‘We will be do­ing dura­bil­ity tests be­fore Oul­ton Park at the start of June [4/5] and we fully ex­pect it to be re­solved by then.”

Plato backed the de­ci­sion to stand down. He said: “Through the three races and four cars, there would have been 12 po­ten­tial in­ci­dents when it could have gone wrong. We didn’t want to take that risk.”

The team has tar­geted a step for­ward in per­for­mance dur­ing the next rounds, with Plato say­ing that he ex­pects the Levorg to “turn a cor­ner” in re­gards to its speed.

The cham­pi­onship’s tech­ni­cal work­ing group has ap­proved a re­vised in­let man­i­fold for the flat four-cylin­der mo­tor that will im­prove speed – and the team will have it in place for Oul­ton.

The car’s de­signer, Carl Faux, said that the team is aim­ing to have the up­grade on all four of its cars. Faux said: “We are sched­uled to have the new part on the Tues­day be­fore Oul­ton Park. It has been driven by [en­gine tuner] Moun­tune and it should rep­re­sent a sig­nif­i­cant step for­ward.”

Plato said that the tweak, al­lied to the reg­u­lar eval­u­a­tion of boost lev­els, will give the Subaru a chance to fight for podi­ums from the next meet­ing: “I have ev­ery con­fi­dence that once the BTCC tech­ni­cal ex­perts have looked at the straight­line speed of the cars and done their cal­cu­la­tions, then we will be given the tools we need to fight.

“It is clear to us that there is noth­ing wrong with the chas­sis, we are just lack­ing boost and that, along with the man­i­fold which will help us to use the boost we are given, will see us take a sig­nif­i­cant step to­wards the front.”

Faux says cars will get Oul­ton up­grade Plato backed the de­ci­sion not to race

James Cole’s car caught alight at Don­ing­ton Park

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